Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Empire #23

In every Star Wars movie, there is a plethora of characters to be found in the background.  In the first movie, the Mos Eisley cantina that Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi enter to hire a pilot is our first glimpse at the abundance of alien species.  Many of these aliens were first named and given a backstory in the West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game which was published from 1987 to 1998.  As an example, West End Games gave Hammerhead his official name, Momaw Nadon, as well as a backstory.  This roleplaying game proved to be a huge influence on the Expanded Universe.  A card game from Decipher, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, started publication in 1995 and continued the tradition of naming characters and providing them a backstory.  Decipher was responsible for first giving BoShek his name, for example.

Bantam Spectra published an anthology novel in August 1995, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, comprised of many short stories featuring background characters found in the cantina.  Of course the cantina denizens that are better known because of their Kenner action figures, like Momaw Nadon (Hammerhead), Ponda Baba (Walrusman), and Greedo receive a story in the novel, but the book also has tales for characters only briefly seen onscreen.  One of these lesser known characters, BoShek, stars in the story At the Crossroads: The Spacer's Tale.  BoShek would not star in a story again until Empire #23 is published nine years later in August 2004.

The Bravery of Being Out of Range takes place on a backwater planet named Stoga.  The story starts with BoShek and Rasha Bex on a swoop bike being chased by Rebels led by Karn.  BoShek is taking Rasha to her friends who are going to provide her transportation off the planet.  Rasha tells BoShek she is being pursued by her former associates, the Rebels, because she decided to leave the group and they thought she knew too much about their operation on the planet to let her live.  They escape and BoShek decided to hide out at his friend Tam's place.  BoShek and Rasha talk before they slumber off and we learn that BoShek is a smuggler who ran afoul of the Empire and was hiding out on Stoga while Rasha is committed to the fight between the Empire and the Rebellion.  BoShek is woken when he hears Tam talking to Karn and the other Rebels that were chasing them.  BoShek and Rasha, riding another swoop bike, are again pursued by the Rebels and they again escape, meeting up with Rasha's friends.  We learn that Rasha is the Imperial spy Captain Bex and her friends are Imperials who begin a ground assault against the Rebels.  Rasha tries to convince BoShek to join the Empire, but he is not interested.  Instead he is taken prisoner and loaded on an Imperial Shuttle.

Star Wars: Empire #23a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 2004)
The cover shows BoShek and Rasha riding a swoop bike.  BoShek is wearing the outfit he wears in the cantina on Mos Eisley.  The cover blurb reads Featuring the Galaxy's Second-Coolest Smuggler!

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